Criminal Behavior and School Discipline in Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth with Autism
The objective was to delineate the prevalence of criminal behavior and school discipline in juvenile justice-involved youth (JJY) with autism. A sample of 143 JJY with autism was matched to comparison groups of JJY without a special education classification, JJY with learning disabilities, and JJY with other special educational needs (N = 572). Results showed that JJY with autism committed significantly fewer property crimes. With regard to school discipline, JJY with autism were least likely to receive policy violations, out-of-school suspensions, and in-school suspensions. Finally, regardless of special education classification, JJY who had a history of fighting in school were more likely to recidivate. Our results suggest that JJY with autism are not more likely to commit crimes compared to JJY without SEN.
KeywordsSchool Crime Discipline Autism Recidivism
AMS conceived of the study, participated in its design, coordination, analysis and interpretation of the data and drafted the manuscript; SH conceived of the study, participated in its design, coordination, analysis, and interpretation of the data and drafted the manuscript; JHH participated in drafting the manuscript; SSM participated in drafting the manuscript and interpretation of the results; ELG helped to draft the manuscript and secured funding. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This project was supported by Award No. 2013-JF-FX-0018 (PI: ELG), awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, as well as by the Yale School of Medicine (Brown-Coxe fellowship to SH), by Award No. R305H140050 (PI: ELG), awarded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, and by Award No. 17-29-02384 (PI: ELG), awarded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Education or the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. We are grateful for the support of Catherine Foley Geib (Connecticut Court Support Services Division), Ajit Gopalakrishnan (Connecticut State Department of Education), and Peter Kochol (Connecticut Court Support Services Division) who made it possible to obtain the data used in this study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.
- Benjamini, Y., & Hochberg, Y. (1995). Controlling the false discovery rate: A practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 57(1), 289–300.Google Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8 years—autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 11 sited, United Stated, 2014 (CDC Publication No. SS.6). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6706a1.htm.
- Connecticut State Department of Education (2011). Guidelines for identification and education of children and youth with autism. Retrieved from http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/DEPS/Special/Guidelines_Autism.pdf.
- Connecticut State Department of Education (2016). Suspensions and expulsions in Connecticut. Retrieved from http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/board/boardmaterials040616/report_on_student_discipline.pdf.
- Fabelo, T., Thompson, M. D., Plotkin, M., Carmichael, D., Marchbanks, M. P., & Booth, E. A. (2011). Breaking schools’ rules: A statewide study of how school discipline relates to student’s success and juvenile justice involvement. New York: Council of State Governments Justice CenterGoogle Scholar
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, 34 CFR § 300.8. (2004). Retrieved January 3, 2018, from https://sites.ed.gov/IDEA/regs/b/a/300.8/a.
- Lerner, M. D., Haque, O. S., Northrup, E. C., Lawer, L., & Bursztajin, H. J. (2012). Emerging perspectives on adolescents and young adults with high- functioning autism spectrum disorders, violence, and criminal law. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 40, 177–190.Google Scholar
- Loefgren, E. (2011). The missing piece of the autism jigsaw puzzle: How the IDEA should better address disciplinary procedures. Law and Psychology Review, 35, 225–238.Google Scholar
- Michna, I., & Trestman, R. (2016). Correctional management and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(2), 253–258.Google Scholar
- O’Nions, E., Viding, E., Floyd, C., Quinlan, E., Pidgeon, C., Gould, J., & Happe, F. (2017). Dimensions of difficulty in children reported to have an autism spectrum diagnosis and features of extreme/’pathological’ demand avoidance. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. 23, 220–227 (Advanced online publication).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Puzzanchera, C., Adams, B., & Hockenberry, S. (2012). Juvenile court statistics 2009. Pittsburgh: National Center for Juvenile Justice.Google Scholar
- Randolph, J. J., Falbe, K., Manuel, A. K., & Balloun, J. L. (2014). A step-by-step guide to propensity score matching in R. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation, 19(18), 1–6.Google Scholar
- Schwartz-Watts, D. M. (2005). Asperger’s disorder and murder. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 33, 390–393.Google Scholar
- Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., Charman, T., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., & Baird, G. (2008). Psychiatric disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders: Prevalence, comorbidity, and associated factors in a population-derived sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(8), 921–929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (2014). Data Snapshot: School Discipline. Retrieved from https://ocrdata.ed.gov/downloads/crdc-school-discipline-snapshot.pdf.